Anne-Sophie Mutter performs Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto

Sibelius – Violin Concerto (Anne-Sophie Mutter)

Accompanied by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter performs Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47. Conductor: Andris Nelsons. Recorded at the Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on March 05, 2015. Encore: Violin Partita No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004, IV. Gigue, Bach.

This is the only concerto that the Finnish composer wrote. It is written in 1904 and scored for solo violin, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani and strings. Traditionally, the work is in three movements:

  1. Allegro moderato (with many tempo changes throughout) in D minor, in 2/2 mostly, with some sections in 6/4 and 4/4 time The first movement, marked Allegro moderato, opens with a cushion of pianissimo strings pulsating gently. The soloist then enters with a characteristic IV-V-I phrase, in D minor G-A-D. The violin announces the theme and is briefly echoed by clarinet, then continues into developmental material. More low woodwind and timpani accompany the soloist in several runs. Almost cadenza-like arpeggios and double stops and more runs are accompanied by more woodwind restatements of the theme. The strings then enter brazenly for the first time, announcing a second theme. Developmental material leads to a cadenza which then opens into the recapitulation. The ‘Allegro molto vivace’ coda ends with restatements of past themes.
  2. Adagio di molto in B-flat major and in 4/4 time The second movement (‘Adagio di molto’) is very lyrical. A short introduction by clarinets and oboes leads into a singing solo part (on the G string) over pizzicato strings. Dissonant accompaniments by the brass dominate the first part of the song-like movement. The middle section has the solo violin playing ascending broken octaves, with the flute as the main voice of the accompaniment, playing descending notes simultaneously.
  3. Allegro, ma non tanto in D major and in 3/4 time It opens with four bars of rhythmic percussion, with the lower strings playing ‘eighth note ‒ sixteenth note ‒ sixteenth note’ figures. The violin boldly enters with the first theme on the G string. This first section offers a complete and brilliant display of violin gymnastics with up-bow staccato double-stops and a run with rapid string-crossing, then octaves, that leads into the first tutti. The second theme is taken up by the orchestra and is almost a waltz; the violin takes up the same theme in variations, with arpeggios and double-stops. Another short section concluding with a run of octaves makes a bridge into a recapitulation of the first theme. Clarinet and low brass introduce the final section. A passage of harmonics in the violin precedes a sardonic passage of chords and slurred double stops. A passage of broken octaves leads to an incredibly heroic few lines of double stops and soaring octaves. A brief orchestral tutti comes before the violin leads things to the finish with a D major scale up, returning down in flatted super-tonic (then repeated). A flourish of ascending slur-separate sixteenth notes, punctuated by a resolute D from the violin and orchestra concludes the concerto.

Read Dean Wang's answer to What is Sibelius telling in his Violin Concerto Op.47? on Quora

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